Modders have got Coffee Lake processors working with older motherboards

Intel Coffee Lake

We knew as early as last August that Intel’s Coffee Lake processors would not run on older 200-series motherboards – and would only play nice with Intel’s new Z370 chipset – but now it has emerged that modders have managed to get the CPUs working with older mobos.

The story here is that while Intel’s 8th-gen processors are compatible with the pins on an older LGA 1151 socket motherboard – i.e. Intel’s Z270 or Z170 motherboards – they won’t officially work thanks to slight differences on the power front (due to changes Intel made rejigging some reserved pins to support the power demands of the fresh six-core CPUs that arrived with Coffee Lake).

Not to be deterred by the official line, the aforementioned modders have been trying to get the new processors working in these older motherboards, and have apparently now succeeded with both Z270 and Z170-based products.

This collective effort is detailed in a post on the forums, and it involves a lot of technical wizardry such as tweaking the processor’s microcode and integrated GPU drivers, and getting around the blocks put in place by Intel’s Management Engine.

The end result was success with a Core i3-8300 CPU in several older motherboards, with the processor apparently ‘completely working’ with both Z270/Z170 Intel chipsets.

More cores, more problems…

One of the contributors to this effort has apparently managed to boot a six-core Coffee Lake Core i5 CPU, but this is a more involved process still. After all, getting a PC to boot is one thing, but getting it to run decently with a Core i5 (or Core i7) processor is another.

As other contributors to that thread note, there are likely to be issues with getting a six-core processor to run successfully given the power requirements of these chips – and there's probably a very real danger of damaging the CPU.

Even running a Core i3 like this is an endeavor which should certainly be approached with caution, and generally speaking, we wouldn’t recommend it. And it definitely shouldn’t be attempted by anyone who isn’t fully confident and tech-savvy when it comes to PCs and messing around with components.

Nonetheless, it’s very interesting to see that entry-level Coffee Lake processors look like they do actually work with these older Intel motherboards, despite the official party line.

Via PC Gamer

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).